Law enforcement needs the public’s help to reverse the alarming increase in violent crime.

The rate of murders in South Carolina officially increased 22.1% while aggravated assaults were up 10.1% in 2020 according to the completed Crime In South Carolina 2020 Report released Monday by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division.

The statistics show an alarming increase in violent crime in our state. The data collected showed the rate of violent crime has increased 6% compared to 2019 and 9.5% since 2015.

Property crimes continued to decrease except for arson which alarmingly increased 22.7% after steadily declining in 2018 and 2019. Property crimes dropped 5.9% in 2020 when compared to the previous year. It is the ninth consecutive year the number of property crimes have declined.

“I continue to say that even though I am pleased to see the continued decline in the rate of property crimes, I am extremely concerned by the increasing amount of violence in our state, specifically the number of murders and assaults,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel. “We have seen murders increase 52.9% over the past five years. The final calculations for this report should concern every citizen in our state.”

The 2020 data for violent and property crime compared to 2019 is as follows:

“Gangs, drugs and criminal’s access to guns continue to play a significant role in the violence
we are seeing.

We must all work together to combat violent crime across this State and that means working with our elected officials, with our criminal justice system partners, and with the community. We must have community support, community interaction, community cooperation and community investment to truly make an impact on crime,” said Keel.

The data compiled for the SLED report come from sheriff’s departments and police departments across the state.

“We thank the sheriffs, chiefs of police, their officers and staff who protect our communities and provide the data for this report,” said Keel.

The full Crime in South Carolina 2020 report is available on SLED’s website at www.sled.sc.gov/crimestatistics.html.

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